Thursday, November 01, 2007

A-A talk cricket


I am becoming curmudgeonlier in my old age. A couple of years ago, I would think, yeah, I prefer test matches, but I don't feel need to heap scorn on one dayers the way that Anthony does. Now, I keep hoping that one dayers die, die, die!

It may be because the trade offs have become more explicit — India has time to play Australia in about 11 ODIs in six months, but not enough time to play 2 practice matches before a test series against Australia in Australia? India needs longer test series, and more practice games, if it is to do better overseas. The reason this doesn’t happen is because of one dayers.

One dayers are destroying what is valuable to me, and therefore I want one dayers to lose. And those who promote one dayers, those boors lacking in taste and an appreciation for subtlety and complexity, curses on them too.


Real test cricket is the only thing that does it for me. Oddly, it is because I’m so time constrained. I can’t be bothered spending an hour watching big hit after big hit. I’d much rather watch half an hour before tea on a crucial 3rd day.


I think those who like test cricket should support the rise of 20/20. Here's the theory.

On a spectrum of contest between bat and ball, test cricket is at extremes from 20/20. Therefore the more 20/20 we have, the lesser the contest between bat and ball. This is bad if you like test cricket. However, 20/20 is not competing with test cricket. They are so different, that 20/20 only takes converts from ODIs, and reduces the number of one-dayers.

Now there is a difference in skills required between tests and one-dayers. There is an even greater difference of skills required between tests and 20/20. Therefore, there will be more players suitable for tests but not 20/20 (or vice-versa), compared to tests vis-a-vis ODIs.

This means we will have a larger number of players who only play tests. Therefore less cricketers will face the issue of fatigue from playing both forms of game. Therefore they should be available to play more test cricket, and we should see finer performances from test specialists. We could have the occasional young mavericks who feed into test cricket from 20/20 and bring the skills they learn. But the shorter form of the game becomes essentially a different game, rather than the leechthat is one day cricket.


The future of cricket is in Desh. If Desis want to do away with test cricket and play only 20/20, then that’s what will happen.


20/20 could be Desh's summer sport — played at night when it is cooler, under lights with matches say from 8pm to 11:30pm. Test cricket would be the daylight form of the game, played in the winter months when conditions allow it. And of course, there should be a regular home season — this should not be the preserve of white nations. This would also work well for another reason: the summer months are off-season for most test nations, so little test cricket could be played in summer anyway (apart from in England). So they could knock themselves crazy playing 20/20 all summer long.